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'It's gonna get tested': Cleveland Monsters relying on depth ahead of season opener

Posted at 6:31 PM, Oct 10, 2023

STRONGSVILLE, OH — There's a theme with the Cleveland Monsters this season - depth. That can make setting the opening night lineup a challenge, but it's a good problem to have.

"We wanna have those hard decisions because that means we're gonna have a really good team," says Cleveland Monsters General Manager Chris Clark.

"We've got depth all over, and you need it. Our big club plays 82 games. We play 72. It's gonna get tested over the course of the season," says Cleveland Monsters Head Coach Trent Vogelhuber.

The Monsters' roster boasts a number of Columbus Blue Jackets prospects.

"We have [David] Jiricek and [Nick] Blankenburg that just came down. Those are guys that can easily step into an NHL lineup tomorrow and play and be fine. That's the depth that we have in Columbus right now - that those guys actually fell to us," says Clark, who is also the Director of Player Personnel for the Blue Jackets.

Cleveland will return 22 players this season. The team hopes the continuity will translate to success on the ice quickly.

"We're gonna be counting on a lot of leadership, kind of growing from within, rather than going outside and picking new veteran leaders to come in for us," says Vogelhuber.

"We've built chemistry as lines and as d-pairs, so to be able to have that chemistry come over from last year, that's gonna be super important for us," says veteran forward Trey Fix-Wolansky.

The Monsters open the season against the Phantoms on Saturday, Oct. 14, in Allentown, PA.

Carly Mascitti is a sports anchor at News 5 Cleveland. Follow her on Twitter @carlymascitti.

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